Personal view of the Apimondia symposium

A personal view of the Apimondia symposium held from 13-14 February in Rome by Sjef van der Steen

This is my personal impression, not describing the presentations, talks and posters but my interpretation. The note will therefore be biased towards my personal interests and work-fields. For detailed information, you can find the abstracts in the Apimondia symposium abstract book of this event. Many veterinarians attended the meeting, showing the interest of veterinarians in bee health and the environmental impact of bee well being and the direction of Apimondia in this. The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe presented a veterinarian approach of bee disease. To outline the position of honeybees in veterinary, honeybees are considered to be MUMS (Minor User = Minor Species). The FAO was present its SPGs (Sustainable development Goals) in which beekeeping plays an important role in banning poverty. Continue reading “Personal view of the Apimondia symposium”

Home-made Beebread Collector

The INSIGNIA project will involve the beekeeper citizen scientists collecting pollen samples using pollen traps, but the scientists have concerns about possible degradation of chemical residues in the pollen during the sampling period, storage and transport. For this reason, we will also be testing two alternative methods of collecting pollen, an innovative passive device, of which more later, and the collection of beebread from the colonies. Beebread is pollen collected by the bees as pollen pellets, and then packed into broodcombs for the colony to use. In the packing process enzymes are introduced by the bees so that its composition changes slightly, thus improving its storage properties. Previous methods of sampling beebread mainly involve damaging brood combs, but in the latest issue of Bee World, Giulio Loglio from Italy with colleagues from Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Lazio e della Toscana “M. Aleandri” and other INSIGNIA colleagues describe a low cost beebread collector which can collect a sample without damaging the combs. This will be trialled in Year 1 of the INSIGNIA Project.
The article can be found here:

Introducing INSIGNIA

Introducing INSIGNIA (environmental monitoring of pesticide use through honey bees)

By Norman Carreck and the INSIGNIA Consortium (

In recent years, there has been much global concern about the plight of bees, which are exposed to many threats including habitat loss, pests and diseases, and environmental factors such as the use of agricultural pesticides and veterinary drugs. Concern about “Colony Collapse Disorder” and excessive losses of honey bee colonies has led scientists in many countries to carry out surveys of beekeepers to quantify those losses. This has established that losses of honey bee colonies, especially over winter, are often much higher than beekeepers consider to be acceptable. Establishing the cause of these losses is, however, much more difficult, and scientists agree that there is unlikely to be a single cause that applies in all years and in all areas, and that it is most likely that colony losses are a result of many interacting factors.

Continue reading “Introducing INSIGNIA”